Many people drink alcohol for leisure. While usually fine in moderation, drinking can become a problem when a person has pre-existing conditions, especially obesity. As found in a study by the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Center, obese people had over 50% greater risk of liver disease, even if they drank within alcohol guidelines. When compounded with excessive drinking, health is much worse— there is a nearly 600% higher risk of being diagnosed with alcoholic fatty liver disease and a 700% risk of death from this health issue.
Given the severity of alcoholism and obesity combined, people must understand the connection between the two to discover possible solutions for better health. In this article, we’ll visit how alcohol and obesity are connected and how one can recover from its effects.
Table of Contents
What causes obesity?
Obesity is caused by excess body fat, with most people over a body mass index (BMI) of 30 considered obese. When looking at the state of being overweight vs obesity, the latter is a progression of being overweight. Do note that there is no singular cause of obesity, it’s possible to be obese even if your lifestyle includes healthy habits like a walk every morning or eight hours of sleep. Factors such as physiological and environmental stressors, physical inactivity, diet choices, and genetics, all can make it difficult to manage weight properly.
How alcohol consumption and obesity are connected
Not all who drink alcohol obsessively are obese, and not all obese people drink. However, if a person already falls under one of these categories, the likelihood of being alcoholic and obese significantly increases. Firstly, alcohol can negatively impact a person’s body— increasing their appetite and encouraging them to overeat. Alcohol also slows down their metabolism, making it more difficult to burn calories.
Similarly, studies have shown that alcohol use disorders and obesity are linked to the brain’s reward system. Through overconsumption of alcohol, the reward threshold may increase, leading to the need for more and more alcohol or palatable high-fat food to satisfy cravings. Given the positive feeling of eating and drinking more, some people tend to be more impulsive and have poorer decision-making, leading to further weight gain.
How to recover from alcohol consumption and obesity
As mentioned above, obesity and alcohol consumption are linked to the brain. To recover, a person will have to trick their brain into thinking that it is more satiated than it really is.
Dealing with obesity and alcohol disorders comes with plenty of physical struggles. Challenges include withdrawal symptoms and cravings, so it’s recommended that people talk to their doctor about potential medication-assisted treatments (MAT). Most medications work by blocking the rewarding effects of food or alcohol or making it more uncomfortable to drink alcohol. One such drug used for treatment is naltrexone, an opioid antagonist that can reduce or virtually eliminate cravings. Through medications, people are discouraged from continuing unhealthy habits, allowing them to keep on track to recovery.
Trying to overcome obesity and beat alcoholism is difficult alone and leaves people at risk of relapsing back to old, unhealthy habits. Rather than trying to complete these challenges alone, having a licensed therapist can be a big help. Therapy allows people to understand the root of their problems and find ways to deal with the psychological aspects.
Getting weight-loss support
Here at UnCraveRx we focus on helping folks develop a sustainable lifestyle resulting in weight loss and overall improved health.
Our medically supervised program combines anti-craving medication, if deemed appropriate by a physician, with our lifestyle app.
The app offers:
- virtual support groups,
- on demand fitness, nutrition, and therapy videos,
- 24 X 7 messaging with health counselors,
- goal setting and metric tracking.
Article written by Roxanne James